June 16, 2014

Shape Up Your Shopping Campaigns: Countdown to August

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August is coming soon. You need to shape up.

You’ve probably heard about Google’s switch to Shopping campaigns by now. If not, here’s the deal: Google announced that all retailers have until late August to transition their current Product Listing Ad (PLA) campaigns to the recently released Shopping campaigns format. After the transition date, Google will automatically force all remaining PLA campaigns into the new format without optimization or input from the retailer.

To have a say in how your feed is optimized and which bids are assigned to which products, you’ll need to create the new Shopping campaigns yourself. Before August.

But don’t worry. This is actually a good thing.

Shopping campaigns will allow you to organize and group your products into more granular subcategories than ever before. You’ll also be able to analyze and export metrics based on this segmented approach, as well as gain access to valuable competitor landscape data.

Was your data feed feeling a little feeble recently? Were your ad sales drooping a tad more than they should this time of year, causing you to feel the extra weight of all those inefficient cost-per-click (CPC) bids?

With the clock now ticking, Google has given you a great excuse to dig deeper into your data, fine-tune it and give your PLA campaigns the shape up they need!

As we start our countdown to the August switch, we invite you to join us here on the blog, where we’ll serve as your personal trainer while you shape up your Shopping campaigns. We want to help your business transition to a healthier, revitalized version of itself, and we want it to be as painless as possible. (And if you bear with us, we’ll do our best to keep the fitness-related puns to a minimum.)

ChannelAdvisor is leading the field with full integration with Google’s Shopping campaigns. Our new Product Group Generator feature will help retailers save valuable time building, optimizing and implementing their new campaigns.

 

Week 1: Educate Yourself

It starts today. Week one is all about learning everything you can about the journey ahead. What are Shopping campaigns? How do they differ from your existing PLA campaigns? How will this switch affect you? What are the benefits? These are the basic questions you need to start addressing if you haven’t already. We’ve already provided some initial materials to help you get started:

A blog post will kick off each of the next few weeks, detailing what you need to be doing at each phase, answering your questions, providing links to supplemental materials and more. We’ll help you get organized, as well as structure, test, measure and ultimately transition to the new campaigns. Your countdown to August looks like this:

Week 2: Organize feed

Week 3: Develop campaign structure

Week 4: Build campaigns with the Product Group Generator

Weeks 5-6: Begin testing

Week 7: Set expectations, report findings

Week 8: Compare old and new campaigns

Week 9: Adjust budgets

Week 10: Finish transition

Sound daunting? It’s not. You can do it. Download our Shape Up Your Shopping Campaigns roadmap, which breaks down each week of the countdown in greater detail. Use it early and often, both during your initial education and as a reference point after you begin the transition.

Like any goal, some of you may reach it more quickly than others. You may be finished with the transition in two weeks. You may have to pace yourself to finish by mid-August. The important thing is that you finish before Google’s mandatory switch and that your new campaigns and PLAs are working effectively for you by then.

That way, you’ll breeze into the autumn months with newfound strength, accuracy, speed and scalability for your digital marketing campaigns. If you fail to meet the deadline, you’ll be forced to play catch-up during the autumn months, and you’ll enter the holiday season with shaky, untested PLA campaigns. But don’t let it come to that. When it comes to the health of your business, procrastination isn’t an option.

If you have any questions along the way, please feel free to email marketing@channeladvisor.com, and we’ll do our best to respond as soon as we can.

It’s time to get excited and get motivated.

Because August will be here soon, and it’s time to shape up!

 

Blog post by Bradley Hearn, ChannelAdvisor Copywriter

June 12, 2014

ChannelAdvisor's IRCE Expedition 2014

We had the opportunity to attend one of the world’s largest e-commerce events over the past few days — the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition, better known as IRCE. Online retail pioneers came together to deliver an explosion of expertise and insight into the cross-layered web of online shopping. What’s more, this year marked the conference’s tenth birthday. Our pictures below illustrate our team’s journey through in-depth workshops, booth activity and much more.

  IRCE 2014

The grand entrance to IRCE at McCormick Place West in Chicago.

 

IRCE 2014

2014's IRCE sponsors. Thanks to everyone for supporting an amazing event!

IRCE 2014

Win the Wheels giveaway to a very lucky attendee.

IRCE 2014

Great traffic in the exhibit hall Tuesday evening!

IRCE 2014

ChannelAdvisor's booth setup.


Interested in learning more about ChannelAdvisor — Who we are? What we do? How we think? Contact us at info@channeladvisor.com or 866-264-8594.

June 10, 2014

Australian Webinar – Google Shopping Campaigns: New and Enhanced Techniques for PLAs

In August 2014, Google will be sunsetting its existing product listing ads (PLAs) format in favour of the newly released Google Shopping campaigns, requiring all advertisers to make the transition. After this date, Google will automatically upgrade all PLA campaigns to the new format, regardless of whether retailers have prepared for this switch. It’s therefore essential to understand the changes and work towards optimising your campaigns before August.

Google shopping image

 

Google’s Shopping campaigns will improve on the current PLA model, offering retail-centric campaign management, advanced reporting down to the individual product ID level and competitive landscape data. As a result, retailers will get enhanced decision-making ability and control over their campaigns.

While Google’s evolution to Shopping campaigns will offer a better way to promote products, it will require you to rebuild your inventory feeds. Google is encouraging retailers to create new campaigns before the changes take effect, pause regular PLA campaigns and optimise inventory, data and labels for the new format. This will ensure all products continue to display as expected.

Together with Power Retail and Google, ChannelAdvisor will host a webinar on everything Australian retailers need to know about the latest updates and how to make the transition sans hiccoughs.

The webinar will cover:

  • An overview of Google’s Shopping campaigns and their key benefits
  • How to get started
  • Details about the new data feed and advanced reporting options
  • Transition tips
  • A timeline for optimising Shopping campaigns

The webinar will be held on Thursday, June 19, at 2 p.m. AEST with Kate Conroy, product specialist at Google, and Sam Clarke, sales engineer at ChannelAdvisor.

Join us for this comprehensive guide to Google’s latest updates and find out how to stay ahead of your competition come August! 

Register for the webinar today!

Blog post by Shani Flynn, ChannelAdvisor marketing copywriter, APAC


Google webinar image

 

Don't miss our Google Shopping campaigns joint webinar with Google and Power Retail on June 19, 2014. Sign up today. 

June 06, 2014

5 Things You May Have Missed from the Shopping Campaigns Webinar

On Wednesday, Google’s Nicole Premo and ChannelAdvisor’s Jackie Jenkins teamed up to host a webinar aimed at getting retailers up to speed on Google’s new product listing ads (PLA) interface called Shopping campaigns. Didn’t make it to the webinar? Here are five takeaways you’ll want to know.

1. August Is Coming — Fast

Google announced that retailers have until the end of August to transition their current PLA campaigns to the recently released Shopping campaigns format. After this date, Google will force all remaining PLA campaigns into the new format without optimization or input from the retailer.  

2. You’ll Need to Get Granular

Shopping campaigns allow retailers to organize and group inventory into more granular subcategories, such as:

  • Brand

  • Item ID

  • Condition

  • Product type

Then you can assign separate bidding values to each. Products that aren’t assigned specific bids are grouped automatically into an “everything else” category, ensuring that all products are covered within a campaign.

3. More Segmenting Means More Metrics

Google has incorporated this segmented approach into its metrics, enabling retailers to analyze and export performance data by product attribute or by individual products. Depending on a retailer’s business needs, it’s possible to pull specific metrics on a brand, product type or even a product ID.  

4. Get Access to Competitor Insights

With Shopping campaigns, retailers have access to valuable competitive landscape data, including benchmark cost-per-click (CPC), click-through rate (CTR) and impression share estimates. Additionally, a new bid simulator allows retailers to experiment with bidding strategies by providing estimated campaign results at different bid levels.

5. Create Product Groups 37 Times Faster

The new ChannelAdvisor Product Group Generator saves retailers valuable time when setting up their Shopping campaigns. In fact, the Product Group Generator structured an entire campaign 37 times faster than it took to build manually. Once setup is complete, the campaign remains in sync with a retailer’s product data feed, eliminating the need for manual updates when changes are made.

Product Group Template

Creating a template with ChannelAdvisor’s Product Group Generator.

To view the webinar in its entirety, download the recorded version here.   

 

Blog post by Gregory Ives, Product Marketing Manager, Digital Marketing


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June 03, 2014

Google’s New Search Network with Display Select

The Story Behind Google’s New Search Network with Display Select

In an effort to boost the use of Display Network advertising among AdWords users, Google recently announced a new, opt-in program that combines traditional paid search with an enhanced display network called Search Network with Display Select.

The program uses the keyword targets that retailers set for their paid search campaigns and surfaces display ads on webpages featuring content with those keywords. The webpages where the ads populate are those within Google’s Display Network, which includes 2 million publisher sites and reaches 90% of global internet users.  

Display Select is intended to choose networks more carefully with predictive filtering of websites based on the likelihood that the audience will be interested in the ads.  As for its success, Google claims that Search Network with Display Select will add 15% more customers by showing your ads on selected keyword-targeted webpages.  

There are two options with the Search Network and Display Select: Standard and All Features.  

Search Network with Display Select

Standard

  • Keyword-targeted text ads for Search Network with Display Select

  • “The basics”

  • All devices

  • Location targeting (basic)

  • Bid, budget

  • Ad extensions (location, sitelinks and call) only

  • Unavailable: the Display Network tab (no targeting methods)

All Features

  • Advanced capabilities: all the bells and whistles

  • Allows Shopping

  • Location targeting (advanced)

  • Ad scheduling, ad rotation, delivery method control

  • Ad extensions (location, sitelinks, call, app, reviews)

  • Dynamic search ads

  • Display Network tab for targeting methods

Our Take

The Search Network with Display Select would be a really interesting program if it were just for display, but we strongly recommend that online retailers keep their search and display networks separate to better control bids, budgets, ROI and performance goals.  

Google, in fact, recommends that retailers who currently have separate programs keep them separate.  

As mentioned above, we’d really like to see a Display Select Only offering to understand how the traffic and metrics compare to a Display Network Only campaign.  It would also be interesting to see how the performance compared over time with the filters and refinement offered by Display Select.  

Those interested in giving the program a whirl can start right away — this campaign type is currently available in AdWords.  

Meanwhile, we’ll be watching the results and keeping our fingers crossed for a Display Select Only offering.   

 

Blog post by LoriAnne Ottman, ChannelAdvisor business analyst

May 27, 2014

How Much Was eBay Affected by Google’s Panda Update?

Panda 4.0Google's latest algorithm update, Panda 4.0, affects eBay retailers. Get the scoop in our latest eBay Strategies blog post


May 23, 2014

Expert Insights: Spring Release with Jackie Jenkins

ChannelAdvisor recently unveiled its 2014 Spring Release, with the tagline “Making Retail Smarter.”  Today we’ll chat with Jackie Jenkins, ChannelAdvisor Sr. Product Manager, about the headliner in this release: Digital Marketing.

Q:  Hi Jackie.  Can you share with us what you do at ChannelAdvisor?

Jackie JenkinsA: Sure.  I’ve been with ChannelAdvisor for 4 years, working closely with customers as well as services and engineering team members to drive ChannelAdvisor’s vision for its advertising solutions. This includes feature developments for paid search, remarketing, comparison shopping, social and product ads. Prior to ChannelAdvisor I worked for Google, managing $10 million worth of quarterly ad revenue for advertisers.  

Q: The theme of the 2014 Spring Release is “Making Retail Smarter.”  What can retailers expect from smarter digital marketing?

A: Well, digital marketing is a super-complicated space--not only do retailers have, literally, hundreds of potential sites to list their products on, they also have to measure traffic and product performance on each of these sites.  We’ve found that many are struggling with this due to the fact that their digital marketing channels are managed by different parties--for example, they may be outsourcing the management of their paid search campaigns to one agency, their social campaigns to another, and managing shopping channels in house.  Managing things this way makes it incredibly hard to reconcile data from all these different areas for a holistic view of performance that enables smarter spending of their digital dollars.

With the Spring Release, we’re offering online sellers the ability to manage all of their digital marketing programs through the ChannelAdvisor platform, so they can send us one data feed that we’ll optimize and distribute to all of their relevant digital marketing channels.  Sellers can then see their performance--down to the product level--and make smarter future decisions based upon where they are seeing the greatest ROI.

Q: What are you most excited about in this release?

A: It’s tough to pick just one thing, so I’m going to cheat and pick 2.

  1. Our new Portfolio Bidder is pretty exciting, mainly because it’s delivering incredible results.  For background, the Portfolio Bidder uses a proprietary algorithm to predict optimal bids to maximize revenue. We have retailers who have seen as much as a 300% lift in conversion rates, which is pretty exciting,  all while keeping overall effective revenue share (ERS) in line with goals. What’s extra cool is that the Portfolio bidder gets smarter over time by conducting ongoing bid combination experiments and incorporating successes.
     
  2. The second feature I’m excited about is our Actionable Retail Insights. As I mentioned earlier, there is a lot for retailers to think about when they are selling online. Actionable Retail Insights surface all the relevant information necessary for retailers to make smarter, metrics-based  business decisions.  For example: 
    • Conversion Path reporting- to better understand how a user’s path to purchase impacts things like Average Order Value
    • Product Opportunity Reporting- to make sure you have complete visibility into where your top products are selling

I’m also pretty excited about Merchant Promotions, but I know you guys spent a good amount of time covering that with Matt Jones so I’ll skip it here.  

Q: We can definitely see how these solutions make retailers smarter!  Thanks for your time, Jackie.  Can you leave us with any hints of what’s next for ChannelAdvisor Digital Marketing?

A: Most of that is highly qualified, but I would suggest that retailers join me and Google for our webinar on Google Shopping campaigns on June 4th, especially since Shopping campaigns are going to be mandatory as of August 2014.  We’ll be filling retailers in on everything they need to know about Shopping campaigns, and what they need to do to switch over. 


Webinar

 

 

 
Wednesday, June 4 at 2 p.m. EDT / 11 a.m. PDT

   

 

May 22, 2014

Boost Your Conversion Rates with Google Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs)

About RLSAs

As many as 96% of the visitors to your site will leave without completing a transaction or another desired action, according to Forrester Research. To combat this abandonment issue, Google AdWords unveiled new targeting capabilities in 2013 with remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs). This new feature allows advertisers to adjust PPC bid amounts, ad copy and keywords based on the activity of the prior visitors to your website. So if somebody leaves your site without completing a purchase, RLSAs can help you reconnect with them while they continue to search for what they need on Google Search.  

How RLSAs Work

To begin using remarketing lists for search ads, you’ll need to add a snippet of code, called a remarketing tag, to your website. This tag will then add a cookie to the each site visitor’s browser, ultimately allowing you to target visitors by which pages they visited and products they viewed. For instance, to target users who have completed a purchase, you could place a remarketing tag on the order confirmation page.

Next, you’ll need to set up a remarketing list, which is a collection of cookied users who have visited your site. These users can be segmented into similar groupings, such as users who completed a purchase, that align with your business goals.   

Image1

Once the tags are in place and you’ve added the remarketing lists to an ad group, you can assign custom ad messaging to customers on the remarketing list. Only the people included on the list will then see these ads. Note that you have an option for how you assign bids to the remarketing lists. If you choose the “Target and bid” option, your ad group will serve only to the remarketing list you specify. However, if you choose “Bid only,” the remarketing list will be assigned your bid adjustment, while the rest of the ad group continues to serve the normal keyword or ad-group-level bid to the audience not included in the remarketing list.

Best Practices

  • Try bidding on broader, more expensive keywords (that you may have previously avoided) to specifically reach visitors who have previously converted on your site. Since these customers are already familiar with your site and the overall shopping experience there, they may be more likely to click on an ad served to them for generic keyword searches like “gift ideas” or “presents.” When incorporating this approach, be sure to set up the generic keywords in a separate ad group and choose the “Target and bid” setting. We also recommend closely monitoring your ROI goals during this process to determine which keywords are most profitable.

  • Adjust your bids for greater visibility with returning customers. These higher value shoppers may be more likely to respond to a familiar ad, so it could prove profitable to increase your bid amounts to ensure that your ads are seen. For instance, try increasing your bid amount by 25% for customers who researched a product on your site but didn’t purchase. The additional exposure may be enough to convert them to a sale.  

  • If you want to serve different ads on keywords you're already bidding on, be sure to duplicate the campaign or ad groups within a campaign, set the appropriate ad-group-level settings to “Target and bid,” and then write your customized ad text for that audience. This approach will ensure that these ad groups are served only to the remarketing lists you’ve chosen. Use the “Bid only” setting if you’re adjusting bids. The bid will be applied only when the user is on the given remarketing list. The ad group will continue to serve the regular bid to users not on the list.  

A Recent Success Story

ChannelAdvisor recently performed an analysis for a client using year-over-year data for Q4 2013. After increasing bid amounts by 30% to a remarketing list of previous site visitors, we observed the following:

RLSA results

This analysis shows that while new visitors made up the vast majority of traffic, RLSA traffic was more efficient with a higher conversion value.  

To learn more about how incorporating RLSAs into your search campaigns can increase conversions and ROI, please give us a call at 866-264-8594 or email us at info@channeladvisor.com.

Blog post by Greg Ives, product marketing manager, digital marketing

May 21, 2014

Webinar: Google Shopping Campaigns 101: Everything Retailers Need to Know About Google’s Latest Update

Wednesday, June 4 at 2 p.m. EDT / 11 a.m. PDT

In this fast-paced digital era, change is lurking at every corner. For retailers, these situations are usually a shoe-in to the chronicles of nightmares.

Headshots

From a new Google search algorithm alteration to a required operating system update, it’s rare that the immediate benefits outweigh the torture of adaption—however—we’ve come across a digital upgrade that may challenge the initial rejection of “change”—Google’s Shopping campaigns upgrade.

“Wait, so what’s in it for me?”

A lot. Managing your products will be a seamless effort, campaign measurements endless, data potent, and reports robust. It’s a win-win for all parties involved.

Join us on Wednesday, June 4 at 2 p.m. EDT for our joint webinar with Google Partner Education Manager for Shopping & Emerging Ads Nicole Premo and our very own senior product manager of Digital Marketing, Jackie Jenkins. Nicole and Jackie will delve into the intricacies of the mandatory e-commerce management system upgrade.

Aside from absorbing best practices, key takeaways will include:

  • Why Google has launched Shopping campaigns and the associated benefits
  • How Shopping campaigns can streamline Product Listing Ad (PLA) setup, management and bidding
  • New features such as competitive landscape data and additional granular reporting
  • The steps you should take to transition to Shopping campaigns

Sign up today to not only meet the well-behaved side of change, but to learn how to execute it effectively.

May 05, 2014

Webinar: How to Understand and Connect With Gen Y & Z Consumers

When it comes to product marketing, the power of the younger demographic is undeniable.

They are coveted. They are targeted. And, according to a recent survey highlighted by Yahoo, the so-called “millennials” are growing in both size and influence. These consumers, between the ages of 18 and 33, now represent 40% of the U.S. population and $600 billion in annual spending power.  

ChannelAdvisor Webinar SeriesNow, how does your business get a piece of that pie?

Well, it’s tricky, because online trends make consumer behavior an ever-changing mystery. The marketing methods that worked for you in years past probably won’t be as effective today. And the methods that worked on their parents a few years ago definitely won’t work for these tech-savvy whippersnappers.

The new generation is different. And your digital marketing campaigns should reflect that.

Join us on Thursday, May 8 at 2 p.m. EDT for the webinar, Deconstructing Digital Daily Habits: A Deeper Understanding of How Gen Y/Z Affects Online Advertising, in which Edwin Wong, Yahoo's senior director of B2B strategic research and insights, analyzes what this demographic looks like today and what factors are determining their changing behavior.

Among the many actionable takeaways from this webinar, you'll learn:

  • Patterns and habits of the digital life of Gen Y/Z consumers

  • YahooThe influence of mobile and social on their buying decisions

  • How the recession affected their behavior

  • The ways in which you can break through the online clutter and grab their attention

The behavior of online consumers will never stop evolving. So as an online seller, you must never stop learning and adapting to meet that demand.

Sign up today and take the first step toward tapping into the potential of this powerful,  sought-after and often misunderstood online demographic.